Upstream Color (2013): 8/10 (Very minor spoilers.... for the film Primer)
A tightly constructed, beautifully filmed fantasy mystery that also happens to be a fairly good thriller. Imagine Malick with maybe a little bit of Cronenberg or Kubrick thrown in for good measure and you're on the right track. If you've seen writer/director Shane Carruth's previous film, Primer, you sort of know what to expect: dense and imaginative, and very demanding of its audience. What you might not expect is the romanticism--I've seen some reviewers compare this film specifically to Malick's Tree of Life, and there's certainly some of that flavor here, albeit with a slightly more sinister edge. (If body horror seriously disturbs you then you may want to avoid this film. It's unrated, but I wouldn't say it's any worse than PG-13--however, it did make the person I saw it with almost sick.)
What's it about? Eh.... that's where things get a bit hard to describe. If you've seen Primer, you'll remember that a key plot point had to do with pulling a time machine through a time machine. At the risk of sounding very vague, Upstream Color is somewhat about pulling a person through a person. Or maybe pulling a person through a pig. Or pulling a pig through a person? I think it might be both, or all three. Worms, orchids, and noise music are also involved, as is the most disturbing case of identity theft I've seen in a film recently, which serves (almost) as the film's opening hook. Throw in some beautiful cinematography, fine acting, and a hypnotic score and you're left with a gorgeous but weird film that's hard to describe really, though ultimately it doesn't require anywhere near the mental gymnastics that Primer did. The bulk of the movie follows two people as they struggle to piece their lives back together after being uniquely violated by a form of mind-control. The structure of the film is fairly straightforward, though some minor detours may throw off the less adventurous audience members, particularly those without much experience in sci-fi/fantasy. I think most people will be able to piece together a fairly solid explanation of what unfolds in this film though, and I suspect that most people will find something to like here, as long as they've got a head for slightly experimental cinema. If you're looking for an art film that's a little bit out of the ordinary, I'd highly recommend Upstream Color--best of luck finding a theatre near you that's holding onto it for a decent amount of time, though.